Saturday, December 26, 2009

Busy As A Carpenter Bee

One of the few things my Mom asked for this year was really a gift for Dad. An old birdfeeder he had made was finally falling apart ... could I make him a replacement?

The old one was nothing more than a square top and bottom made of plywood with hole in the top for adding seed. A paintcan lid pinned by a nail swivelled back and forth to cover the hole in the roof. His was surrounded by wire in an attempt to keep the squirrels out ... but over the years, they have surrendered to the squirrel cuteness factor and actually feed them.
The wire didn't keep them out anyway, there was always a squirrel sitting inside that feeder.

So, I left the wire off when I made the replacement feeder above. I kept the hole in the top concept in case they ever wanted to wrap wire around it again.
I also made mine round instead of square as Junior had recently smacked his head on the old one as he chased Bear past the old grapefruit tree on which it hangs.

I made this one quick, it is functional, but no work of art. The three cedar uprights are from a cedar log that has been perched in my barn rafters, just waiting for a use.

Only ... it wasn't really waiting all that time.

Somebody else was using it.

When I cut the cedar into the 3 ten inch pieces I needed, I sliced right into their tunnel system.
Above is a view inside lit only by the light coming in a side entrance hole.
I find it pretty astounding the way they bore through wood. They seemed to prefer the red heartwood as only the entry tunnels ran through the white sapwood.
Seems odd to me ... isn't heartwood the hardest part?

A little to the side and they could have avoided the heartwood all together.
Cedar is generally known to be one of the more bug and rot resistant woods also, so it's curious that they would choose this type of wood for a nest.

As I handled the pieces for a photo, an irritated buzzing began from deep inside the log.

It wasn't long before a really grouchy carpenter bee emerged and flew off. I suppose that may be bad news for him ... being kicked out of your den in the dead of winter is probably not a good thing.

Turn up you volume to get an ear full of bee swearing.

If you speak bee, you don't need me to explain what's beeing said (heehee). I won't be translating due to the family safe nature of Pure Florida.


Doug Taron said...

Very cool. They get high marks for neatness of drilling.

> the dead of winter...


lisa said...

Poor things losing there home:) Nice feeder by the way!

Anonymous said...

My goodness, such language from an insect!

Thunder Dave said...

You know I've been studying several languages, but you might not know that wood bee is one of them! What are the odds?
You're right what the bee was saying can't be repeated, and my skill with this laguageis a bit rough still, but I'll try to share what I can with you. The bee was casting remarks about your family history somehow being linked to canines, and something to do with "Merry Chrismas my" and that's all I could get! ;-)

amarkonmywall said...

I'm just trying to come to grips with the fact that, in terms of taking over the world, insects have started with Florida. They're over at my place today, too.

VERY nice bird feeder. Simple, functional, aesthetically pleasing. Well done.

edifice rex said...

Up here those bees go straight for my treated lumber and turn their nose up at the untreated. I never have figured that out. You would think they would not like the chemicals or it would hurt them. Maybe they know the lumber is going to last longer!? lol!
I have always been amazed at how perfectly round their holes are too.

cndymkr / jean said...

Some one needs to have their mouth washed out with soap. Such language!

Anonymous said...

Hi FC,

I hate to admit this but that bee sounded like me with the August school rush when no one knew their address for phone service!

Another thing. I thought "dang, that bird feeder is huge." At first I thought it was sitting on the ground like a table! Had to look again when I saw you holding the cedar.


Floridacracker said...

I hear that snicker ... but it's 41 right now and should get down to 28 tonight!

Well, I did let them use this log for about 3 years at least.

They should bee ashamed.

I thought it might be something like that.

It's always bug season here. Thanks! The feeder is pretty basic, but the birds don't seem to mind.

Now THAT is strange.
I don't know where they store their drill bits.

I HAVE had my mouth washed out with soap and it seems to work.

LOL! I had to go back and look at the picture to see what you meant!

Miz S said...

Amazing little creatures, those carpenter bees.

Hey! Maybe that's my problem! My mom never washed my mouth out with soap. Too late now.

Aunty Belle said...

heh. Youse done a fine job on that feeder fer yore Mama!

carpenter bees always ea perfect circle holes in mah rose leaves!

Floridacracker said...

Miz S,
It only takes once to make you swear off swearing ... for a decade at least.

Thanks! Maybe they are herbeelists.